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September 4, 2017

Then and Now: Returning to I-Drive 360


Ah, the nostalgia! Remember the good ol' days of watching The Orlando Eye progress from a simple base to a full-fledged super structure? Seems like forever ago now that the I-Drive 360 complex is so well-established and thriving as one of the most unique and diverse entertainment districts in Orlando, but the (now) Coca-Cola Orlando Eye only started spinning guests high into the sky little more than two years ago. So much has changed in that brief period of time!



As I was saying... I-Drive 360 is an ever-evolving center for family fun, nightlife, and culinary adventure. Regularly hosting an assortment of events themed around charitable efforts, music, culture, and more, I-Drive 360 is popular with tourists and locals alike. Guests of all compositions find value in the diverse collection of venues clustered in the expansive complex - couples, families, young, old, groups, and individuals. It is also a location that brilliantly reinvents itself from time to time - to stay fresh, and worthy of repeat visits. While some of the changes seem minor, others involve the introduction of entirely new businesses to the 360 family. Some of the most recent openings include Uncle Julio's Mexican restaurant, Istanbul Lounge, and the 7D Dark Ride Adventure. Inside the Terminal Building housing Madame Tussauds and SeaLife Aquarium, there has also been a complete clean slating to the food court options - with all new restaurants and the appearance of snack carts. I-Drive 360 has even launched a handy visitors' app with access to are info, reviews, updates and news, promotions, and a customizable itinerary.


We took a stroll through Madame Tussauds to see what's new. Considering that I didn't expect this venue to lend itself to return visits, I found quite a bit that has changed since my last pop in!

Jackie Chan found a new backdrop!

Some new famous faces have arrived and some have mysteriously vanished. (Maybe Marilyn is just freshening up in her trailer?)

Martin Luther King has moved down the hall from his previous location, into a beautiful new scene.

A whole lot of change has gone on here, of course. Thankfully, not creating quite the uproar that Walt Disney World is seeing with the Hall of Presidents. These two seem pretty content sharing equally impressive space at Tussauds.

As for Johnny Depp - he appears to have changed up his hairdo a bit, and gone on quite a diet!

The free selfie station at the Neymar exhibit is just brilliant. I'm one of those strange heathens who can't find the love for soccer, so the exhibit itself wasn't as alluring to me as the way it is set up with digital-tech integration. Would love to see this option more widely available throughout the venue!

We were looking forward to checking out the NEW Orlando Eye - since the Coca-Cola sponsorship transition and the resulting addition of the Coca-Cola capsules, but Unfortunately, we've been a wee bit jinxed when it comes to timing. Our schedules allowed four attempts to stop in for a flight - each time to be greeted by the sign of disappointment. Of course, this is no fault of the venue. This August was particularly stormy, and of course, we would prefer them make the call for safety. Since we don't have the new experience to share, I took advantage of the opportunity to revisit some of our favorites! Of course, you can also go see our original, in-depth report from the opening of The Orlando Eye, SeaLife Aquarium, and Madame Tussauds Orlando here.